Teacher of the Issue: Mr. Mike Koenig

Mike Harrington

AP and Honors Physics teacher Mr. Mike Koenig has been teaching at Malvern for 12 years and coaching for 15.

When walking into Physics teacher and Registrar Mr. Mike Koenig’s office on the top floor of St. Rita’s, one can learn a lot about the man. He keeps only one chair in the room for himself. He decorates his walls very minimally. Nothing is in disarray, and there is a sense of order in office.

The room reflects the man himself—hyper-organized and hardworking.

“It’s not for everybody,” Koenig said of the registrar’s job. “Some people say that they wouldn’t take a million dollars a year to do the job, but if you have a brain that likes to work on puzzles, then this is a pretty natural fit.”

He has occupied the registrar position for the last five years. The new development of the J-Term has added a new task to his duties as registrar. Koenig will be assigning course selections, rooms, and rosters for the J-Term.

Although Koenig does love the challenge that the scheduling puzzle of the J-Term brings him, he does have one regret about the experience.

“I was going to run a class called the Mathematics and Psychology of Poker… I have to teach AP Physics during J-Term,” he said.

Koenig assumes the class would’ve been a top choice for many knowing Malvern’s student body, but thinks students would have been disappointed anyways to find out what the class was actually like.

“It would have been pretty popular, but I feel like the students who would’ve taken that class would’ve been a little disappointed in how academic it would’ve been,” he said. “Because it would’ve been very math-oriented. I think I would’ve bored everyone in the room.”

Koenig wanted to create this class because of his hobby of playing poker. He also enjoys coaching, spending time with his kids, construction projects, and playing the guitar.

Koenig started coaching in 2002. He started teaching in the winter of 2005 as a long-term substitute, taking the place of the former physics teacher Captain Bob Boyce USN (Ret.) who was recovering from injuries suffered during an automobile accident.

“One of my assistant coaches Mr. Tom Stewart, from the science department, knew that I was looking for a job because I was finishing up my grad school work at the time,” Koenig said. “He asked me if I’d be interested in teaching physics, and I had never really thought about it before because I don’t have an education degree. But I decided to give it a shot. I liked it so much that they offered me a full time job after that.”

Koenig earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Notre Dame and a graduate degree in biomechanics from Delaware. Even though he had no previous teaching experience, or a degree in education, he doesn’t think this hindered him from obtaining his current job.

“You can get into teaching by getting an education degree, but one of the things an education degree doesn’t necessarily give you in that setting is practice. You don’t really know what type of teacher you’re gonna be until you actually get in front of a group of people,” he said.

According to Koenig, coaching also helped him become the instructor he is today. He feels it forced him to improve his public speaking skills and group communication.  

“I do feel like coaching helped me be a better teacher because I was able to spend three years perfecting talking to groups of people before I ever set a foot in the classroom,” Koenig said. “It felt very natural and easy to start as a teacher and interact with students.”

Even though this isn’t where he pictured himself ending up, Koenig is happy in his current position.

“I love my job… I really like the people here. I really like the atmosphere. Then there’s other things that you can’t really put your finger on as to why you like it. It’s just a good gut feeling. I got that from the second I drove on campus,” he said.